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Saturday, September 3, 2011

All British Field Meet Makes Us Want to do Something Dirty with an E-Type

Portland, Oregon shares more in common with the British Commonwealth than just rain and ale, we both love finicky motoring relics of a bygone era. To that end, the All British Field Meet and Historic Races is happening throughout the extended Labor Day weekend at Portland International Raceway. This is an annual and beloved gathering of the faithful. Those who would prefer to pilot a self-loathing, hand built vehicle down a rain-soaked back road tend to have a slightly different world view than those of us who can't muster the bravery that is required to drive one of Ol' Blighty's finest on a day-to-day basis. Don't get me wrong, I've owned two Jaguars myself; one never actually ran and the second did so only at the date and time of it's choosing, regardless of the commitments or perils I may have been facing. Those cars had heart.

The prime event is the All British Field Meet where owners, drivers and fans of British steel (and aluminum) turn up to share stories and swap information amongst the royal loyal. Everything from Land Rover Defenders to Rolls-Royce 20/25 sedans, from Allards to Austin Healeys, from 4-wheeled Morgans to their 3-wheeled sisters, popped their hoods... errr, bonnets, in a choreographed display of absolute beauty and mutual admiration.

Saturday's activities featured a thrill ride of sorts with off-road tours offered by the adventurous Land Rover crowd for only $2 per rider with proceeds benefiting a local charity. There is a swap meet scheduled for Sunday that promises all the quarterlights, propshafts and boot kit spanners you could ever dream of.

The real thrill ride, however, is the competitions. Various classes of vintage steel pound the tarmac lap after lap in the historic races that take place daily until 5pm. I witnessed the eccentric Haggis Speed roadster, loosely patterned after a Lotus Super 7, make quick work of several competitors while giving a rough and tumble E-Type a solid run for it's money. There were cockpit doors flying open at the chicanes, dust ups between cars that would inevitably leave one or more straddling the candy cane hued curb, and puffs of brake dust serving as tangible proof of the determination of the pilots of these noble steeds, and before you ask, there were no Nobles present.

Shades of pale blue and orange, the traditional livery of Gulf Oil racers and a Martini striped Porsche 911 helped concrete the impression that we had all somehow been transported back in time, or at the very least to the Goodwood Festival of Speed. In the end, isn't that what all great car events do? They take us to the world we wish we lived in; a world where a plaid driving cap is tipped as a friendly gesture, where ladies unpack picnic baskets from the boot of a never-restored but perfectly serviceable old saloon car, and where we give a kind wave to a driver we've never meet before purely because he's piloting the same type of car as us.  Thank you England, thank you very much indeed.

Click "Read More" below to see nearly 80 photos!
A collection of classic Rovers.



Ready for the Zombie Apocalypse.
Hit the switches for the 3-wheeled motion.

Allard you glad I didn't say banana?
This BSA looked to be made from liquid Mercury.
An early kneeling Spirit of Ecstasy.

Sometimes you just need a little German engineering when your Lucas electrics crap out on you.
...and I even like the color.
An incredibly rare, impossibly beautiful, MG K3.









We've got him in our sights!
An insane track ready Lotus.






I watched for an hour, it never turned into a submarine.


More great asses than a pilates class.



Hmmm, the only Morgan I ever felt sorry for. Sad face.




What Chruchill would drive if he worked for UPS.



Supercharged XKE in the slalom.
Ford GT. Do. Want. Now.






Lola, you've got me on my knees.


Real cars don't wear Star Shield.







Now there's something you don't see everyday.


Vale Special, Vale Motor Company Ltd. London
Wall-E's cousin from the distant past.


Artsy fartsy.

Doors smoors, let's race!
Haggis Speed on the hunt.





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